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Testimony: M.A.M.A.


Name: M.A.M.A.
Age: 15
Date: 7 August 2017
Location: Tuqu', West Bank
Accusation: Throwing stones

On 7 August 2017, a 15-year-old boy from Tuqu' is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 3:00 a.m. He reports being interrogated without first consulting with a lawyer or being informed of his right to silence.

I was working a night shift at my local bakery. At around 3:00 a.m. my uncle came by with about 10 Israeli soldiers. My uncle told me that the soldiers had already been to our house looking for me.
One of the soldiers, who was wearing a face mask, held me by the arm and dragged me home. Once home the soldiers allowed me to change my clothes but did not allow me to say goodbye to my family. The soldiers gave my mother a document including handwritten details about my arrest noted in Hebrew. They asked my mother to sign the document and she did.
Then I was taken outside where I was handcuffed with metal handcuffs to the front. The handcuffs were not painful. They also tightly blindfolded me over my glasses which caused me pain. Then I was put in the back of a jeep which was parked about 100 metres away and sat on a seat. Inside the jeep a soldier grabbed my face aggressively and asked me why I throw stones at soldiers. He also verbally abused me and called me a "son of a whore".
The jeep drove to the nearby military base and then to the police station in Etzion settlement. On arrival at Etzion I was taken to a shipping container where the soldiers made me stand in an awkward and painful position: half crouching half standing for about 30 minutes. During this time a doctor came to examine me. He removed the blindfold and took my blood pressure and then replaced my blindfold.  I was allowed to use the toilet but the soldiers refused to remove the handcuffs and insisted on leaving the bathroom door open.
After about 30 minutes a person took me behind the shipping container to an isolated area. He told me to cooperate with him otherwise he was going to "organize your burial ceremony". I was able to see a little from under the blindfold and I could tell he was nervous and did not want anyone to see him. Then he beat me hard on my head and kicked me in my genitals causing me severe pain. He beat and kicked me while I was handcuffed and blindfolded. When I tried to protect myself with my hands he removed the handcuffs and replaced them with my hands behind my back.
This person then accused me of throwing pipe bombs and Molotov cocktail at soldiers and told me if I did not confess I was never going to see my parents again. He also told me I would never have a family of my own because he was going to castrate me.  When I denied the accusations he beat me more. Then he told me he was going to take me to see an interrogator.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the handcuffs and I immediately realised from his clothes and his boots that he was the same person who had just beat me behind the shipping container. I pretended I did not know because I was too scared. When I told him I was beaten hard he told me he would send me back to those who beat me if I did not confess. He did not inform me of any rights.
Halfway through the interrogation he phoned a lawyer and allowed me to speak to him. The lawyer told me not to confess and then spoke to the interrogator in Hebrew.
The interrogator accused me of throwing a Molotov cocktail on 5 August 2017. He told me there were confessions against me by other boys and he named some of them. When I denied the accusation he called me " a son of a whore". Then he told me he wanted to give me two minutes to think and reconsider my answer.
Two minutes later the interrogator asked me whether I had anything to say. When I told him I did not understand what he wanted from me he lost his temper and started to yell and shout at me saying I had to confess. I was so scared that I decided to confess to throwing one stone during a protest in support of the prisoners’ hunger strike. After I had confessed he took me to see another interrogator.
The second interrogator had a tape recorder. He did not inform me of my rights and asked me to repeat what I had told the first interrogator but I did not. Instead I told him I denied all the accusations. Then he sent me back to the first interrogator who was very angry and beat me when he realised I did not confess to the second interrogator. After beating me he sent me back to the second interrogator and I confessed to throwing one stone as he typed on a computer.
When the second interrogator finished typing he showed me two documents in Hebrew and asked me to sign them. When I asked him to explain to me what the documents were he told me they were to help identify me. I signed the two documents because I wanted to be done with the whole thing. The two interrogations lasted for about two hours.
After the interrogation they took my photograph and fingerprints and then strip-searched me. I was then taken to a cell where I remained until around 7:00 p.m. During this time I was brought some food.
At around 7:00 p.m. I was taken to Ofer prison where I was strip searched again. This time they made me crouch up and down. Two soldiers made fun of me and I was embarrassed. Then I was taken to Section 13 where I ate and went to bed.
The following day I was taken to Ofer military court. My parents were not there because they were not informed but my lawyer was present and the hearing was adjourned. In all I had five more military court appearances which my father attended with my lawyer.
In the end I was sentenced to 3 months in prison and fined 2,000 shekels in a plea bargain. I was also sentenced to 8 months in prison suspended for 5 years. I accepted the plea bargain because the sentence was going to be harsher if I did not. I also realized that my charge sheet said I had thrown stones on two occasions which was not what I had confessed to. In the plea bargain one of the charges was dropped.
My parents visited me once in prison and I spent my entire sentence at Ofer. In prison I studied Arabic and mathematics. I was released on 23 October 2017.
It was a difficult experience for me and for my family. My parents did not know where I was for 3 days after my arrest and this worried them a lot. My father lost workdays to attend the military court hearings and both my parents had many sleepless nights. When I see soldiers in town now I run home and watch from the window.